EE Retail & Silver Lining Solutions

EE is the UK's most advanced digital communications company and is the first in Britain to offer superfast 4G mobile services alongside fibre broadband. EE aims to deliver the best network and the very best service to its 27 million customers, so that they trust the organisation with their digital lives.

"EE doesn't do things by halves," explains Nicky Hoyland, Product Change and Development Partner. "We are building the best mobile network - investing a further £1.5 billion on top of our £15 billion investment since 2000 - to reach 98% of the UK population by the end of 2014. Our ambitions have big implications for our employees in our retail stores who simply have to have the right skills and knowledge of products, tariffs and regulations to serve our vast and rapidly growing customer base".

Rising to the challenge

To help EE achieve its objectives, Nicky and the team are spearheading a strategic training programme in support of over 5,000 employees across 725 UK-based retail stores which heralds a new, digital era for training across EE.

"First of all, EE operates in a complex and highly competitive market; we are continuously managing new product and service releases and rapidly changing tariffs - not to mention staying abreast of current telecommunications and financial services regulations. Against this intricate backdrop, social media, review sites, online communities and price comparison sites all mean that customers are generally exceptionally knowledgeable, so our employees need to be experts in mobile device operating systems, competitive products and a multitude of handsets and technologies. Last but not least, effective learning differs from employee to employee and what works for one, very often doesn't for another - so we knew we needed to explore best practice learning techniques and technologies to give ourselves the best chances of success," continues Nicky.

In this context, EE decided to design and implement a learning strategy that would leverage world-class training techniques and technologies, enable retail staff to take ownership of their own development and underpin EE's requirement for innovative, scalable learning that meets the industry's stringent compliance requirements.

Helping people to help themselves

Such an ambitious initiative needed to be built on robust foundations, so EE carried out an exhaustive review of current practices and infrastructure as well as best practice training environments. Nicky and the team soon came to the conclusion that EE's training would need a significant overhaul in order to make the digital leap and deliver compelling results - fast.

First of all - and perhaps unsurprisingly - location-based training, frequently used across EE's estate, was confirmed to be costly. In addition, the review revealed that there was a clear opportunity - not to mention employee appetite - to leverage new technologies to make learning more profitable for EE and its employees.

Throughout the review process, the team consulted widely with retail staff in order to glean vital intelligence and to help win 'hearts and minds', in preparation for the journey ahead. This engagement proved to be time well spent as it revealed that employees were eager to learn more dynamically; focusing on key subjects in their own time. In short, people wanted to access relevant training materials that suited their individual needs wherever and whenever they wanted to - using a variety of media and vehicles to make learning more rewarding and fun.

As EE already used Silver Lining's employee performance optimisation solution, Optimizer, in other areas of its business, in late August 2012, Optimizer was confirmed as EE's training solution for the Retail environment and the clock started ticking! The rebranding and modifications to the IPad display were achieved in under 6 months and Silver Lining Solutions' account and training teams worked closely with Nicky and her team from start to finish.

"After a lot of hard but enjoyable work, we developed a training strategy and deployed Optimizer from Silver Lining Solutions so that our retail employees can acquire product, market and tariff knowledge and relevant customer facing skills when and where it suits them. In addition, since the introduction of Optimizer, EE is now better able to manage its Operating System accreditation process and evidence compliance," states Nicky.

When training meets state-of-the-art, rewarding and fun!

Today, Optimizer helps EE understand individual employee skill and knowledge gaps and deliver a varied and innovative learning capability online, on the move and on the corporate iPads used by all EE retail staff.

Learning is now rewarding and fun and Optimizer's rich functionality and personalisation capabilities are helping people take more ownership of their own development and enabling a greater sense of purpose when engaging with training content. The feedback from retail staff on EE's new, digital training world has been overwhelmingly positive, with many proactively coming forward to say that things are much better than before and that they feel much more engaged.

"Working with Silver Lining Solutions is both refreshing and straightforward at the same time. The combination of an ambitious plan, combined with tight deadlines and being in the midst of a major rebrand, could have spelt disaster! Happily for us, the experience was excellent - the team had creative 'flair' yet was focused on results, flexible and unflappable at all times. And, although it's early days, ROI is very definitely on track too," shares Nicky.

Rapid and compelling ROI

In just under 6 months, EE realised the following benefits:

  • Implementation of a new digital training world for its retail estate
  • 275 outlets, 5,000 employees
  • Operational efficiencies
  • Massive cost reductions by reducing location-based training
  • Greater employee engagement
  • Improved individual performance
  • An on brand training infrastructure

"Silver Lining Solutions helped us realise considerable and tangible benefits extremely quickly - I'm delighted. Their software and implementation expertise are helping us achieve our ambitious objectives and surpassing my very high expectations," concludes Nicky.

Silver Lining Solutions and EE have a strong partnership and work together on an ongoing basis to ensure Silver Lining's solutions help EE improve sales, increase customer satisfaction and reduce operational costs.

About Everything Everywhere

EE is the UK's most advanced digital communications company and the first in Britain to offer superfast 4G mobile services alongside fibre broadband. We run the EE, Orange and T-Mobile brands, delivering our 27 million customers with the best network and the best service so they trust us with their digital lives. We aim to deliver the UK's best service, through our websites and customer service apps, over the phone and in-store. We have over 11,000 customer service and retail employees who are trained experts in mobile device operating systems. Every year, our service centre teams have over 86 million conversations with our customers, and more than 40 million customers come through the doors of our more than 700 retail stores. Online, we have over 35 million visits per month to our websites.

About Silver Lining Solutions

Silver Lining Solutions enables organisations to pinpoint and replicate the employee skills, knowledge and attributes that drive the best business outcomes - quickly, cost-effectively and at scale. Our teams have deep industry knowledge and extensive exposure to customer management, contact centre and back office environments. This first-hand exposure helps us see things from your point of view - we understand the challenges you face and know how to overcome them to unlock significant business benefits. Leading companies around the world use our unique software solutions to transform the customer experience and achieve step change improvements in sales performance and operational efficiencies.